Those of you who have followed me for a while will no doubt be aware of my blog on the Police and Social Media
This came about because a respected anonymous police blogger/tweeter had closed his account due to pressure from his Professional Standards Department. If you haven’t read it.. please do.
I have now been tweeting and blogging under this name for just over 12 months and I have thoroughly enjoyed my engagement with many people. I have amassed just over 5000 followers that increases every day and I’m always amazed that people find what I have to say is of interest. I don’t doubt that the collective feelings of betrayal that officers currently feel in the face of Winsor 1 & 2 have assisted in my growth on Twitter as police officers rally together to oppose our unfair treatment. Especially as we promote our cause to the wider public using the #antiwinsornetwork
What a change in 12 months though. More and more police officers are joining Twitter and engaging with their communities with official accounts and those forces a little slow at coming forward are now seeing the benefits of using social media as pioneered by others. We have also seen a spike in officers joining the network and expressing their views, hopes and fears who are anonymous. My previous blog explains why there is a need for the variety of accounts and why we can all work together to make a tangible difference to our communities and public perception.
I sometimes look at the comments some users are making and wonder about whether they are police officers or not. You may be thinking the same about me! The fact remains that as police officers we have a code of conduct that we have to comply with. Putting a “these views are my own” disclaimer in your bio does not prevent you from being sought out and dealt with appropriately for improper posts. This is important to remember all the time and even more so in the current climate where we are under greater scrutiny by the media. Doing something stupid now will impact on all of us. It’s timely to remind all police tweeters that a foolish comment made in anger can and will be used to support any other negative reporting of the police. As in most cases some media outlets will capitalise on the negatives and ensure it’s given enough hype to seem a bigger issue than it is. The good work we are doing and the cause we are fighting will then pale and only we will be the losers. Integrity is the key. Think before you tweet! Remember also that a person promoting themselves as a police officer may not be one at all and their objective may be to draw you into something to discredit you and the wider service. Use caution. Don’t jump on a bandwagon on the assumption a tweeter is a police officer and if they can do something silly so can you. As we would say on twitter #FAIL
I’m going to finish with a request. I have found my social media journey massively informative and great fun. I am more nationally aware of issues and feelings than I have ever been during my service. Forces and individuals are all making great progress in the use of social media. I see great benefits for us all to use this to benefit of many. I follow keenly the work of many social media specialists, especially Lauri Stevens and I see a great information sharing taking place internationally in law enforcement. We have a great ambassador in DCC Gordon Scobbie and we can only go from strength to strength. However, there is still much work to do and to that end I would make a request. Please follow Dr Jez Phillips He is conducting research in the crime, the fear of crime and how this is affected by the use of social media by forces and individuals. This sort of research is valuable and he needs your support. Please follow and assist him when he makes requests for information. Thank you.
In the meantime I will be at The BlueLightCamp this Sunday. If you are there then I look forward to meeting you. There may still be some free tickets left if you would like to attend.
Stay safe, tweet wisely and most of all enjoy the experience.